When the Panama Canal was completed in 1914, it expanded the possibilities for Victoria as a seaport, bringing in goods from around the world and allowing local businesses to export the island’s natural resources. The problem then was that ships couldn’t enter the middle or inner harbours because of the large shoal off Shoal Point, so they loaded and offloaded at outer wharfs, which were buffeted by high southwest winds that blew in all winter. By 1917 the solution was in place: the breakwater structure off Ogden Point protected the piers and boosted Victoria’s viability as an international port.
Fast forward 100 years and the Breakwater is still a crucial structure for Ogden Point, solid infrastructure that was so meticulously built that it hasn’t required major repairs since the last stone was placed. Today, the Breakwater protects cruise and commercial ships docking at Ogden Point and provides a scenic 1.6-kilometer return walk, one of the city’s most popular attractions. When GVHA installed handrails on the structure in 2013, a move that was initially resisted by the public but ultimately embraced, the Breakwater became even more popular as a destination.
GVHA hosted an event last month to celebrate the Breakwater's 100th anniversary, inviting the public to drop by and enjoy coffee and donuts, historical walks and talks and kids activities.
We’re also looking for your recent and historic Breakwater photos – enter our photo contest to win great local prizes!